Peter's z80.eu site blog
Another floppy emulator (works with TRS-80, Apple II a.s.o.) 
Monday, March 28, 2011, 10:35 PM
Posted by Administrator
Amazing what some had already developed... it's a silicon floppy which can emulate even disk drives for an Apple II, but also for unusual disk formats like the TRS-80 SD/DD mixed ones.

Just take a look at
http://www.thesvd.com/svd/index.php

It doesn't look very expressive, but it is !

Inside, a PIC 16C74 processor will do the job.
It will be connected with the help of a RS232 interface.
Windows and Linux is supported from PC side.
And it can be build by yourself as a "kit".

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Kind of a network connection to every CP/M computer ... 
Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 12:48 PM
Posted by Administrator
Interesting idea: Take a device which can do conversion between TCP/IP and a Serial Port ...

http://www.toniwestbrook.com/archives/148

This is not very cheap, but seems to be an easy way to get files through an Ethernet network or even via WiFi connection from and to a CP/M computer.
Also, a modem can be emulated (think about using RBBS hosted on an old CP/M computer).
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean you have something like a drive extension (getting files from and to a PC), and so you're still limited to communication programs at the CP/M side.

May be Kermit can be used (at PC side, PC-Kermit 95 through network, at CP/M side, the old Kermit 4.11). I don't know. Have to ask Toni (I will update this entry if I get an answer).

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Another real Z80 portable - today we would talk about a netbook... 1987 it wasn't a sensation but very handy 
Saturday, March 12, 2011, 09:30 AM
Posted by Administrator
Clive Sinclair's last computer creation was manufactured by his own company Cambridge Computer. It's a Z80 (3.2768 MHz) based very slim and handy laptop, has a LCD display with 6 rows and 80 columns (native resolution is 640x64 pixels), and at least 32KB RAM.
You can use additional cards to extend your storage up to 1 MByte RAM / ROM.
BBC Basic was integrated as a programming language.
Unfortunately this beautiful beast not really had a commercial success, one reason was the proprietary card format, also almost no other vendor developed software for it.

It's still a hot collector item:

For more information, take a look at http://www.worldofspectrum.org/z88forever/ .
You will see, there are not too much sites / pages about the Z88.
At sourceforge, a development environment and a virtual machine can be found.
http://www.algonet.se/~dennisgr/z88.htm has a development kit named Z88DK, which is usable not only to create Z88 programs.
Rakewell still produces innovative hardware expansions.You can even buy a Z88 still there !

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Got a (rare) C64 COMAL 80 cartridge ! 
Sunday, February 6, 2011, 07:22 PM
Posted by Administrator
Not very spectacular, but that's still a good news for me.
A very smart alternative for the build in BASIC 2.0, that's COMAL80.

It's working without any special procedure... just insert cartridge and start the C64:

It's an almost dead programming language, but if you have only the choice between BASIC, COMAL and Assembler, it's worth a try. COMAL80 was a mixture between BASIC and PASCAL, but feels a bit more like BASIC than PASCAL.

For the C64, there is another comparison to BASIC 2.0 here: LINK

If you're curious about COMAL, try the related link below ;-)

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Floppy Disk emulators which can write ! 
Monday, January 24, 2011, 04:37 PM
Posted by Administrator
Very interesting:

There is not only the "KryoFlux" which is designed to "preserve" old disk formats.
Unfortunately there is still no possibility for all these with KryoFlux read disk images to write it back to the floppy disk...

There is also HxC Floppy Emulator to the rescue !
It's a small board with a PIC18F462, uses a SD card as a mass storage, and can be connected through an usual floppy drive cable (34 pin).
So the old machine can use this board like a normal (mechanical) floppy drive.
A picture of this miracle:


Also, they have something similar to the KryoFlux:
A small board with an Altera MAX CPLD EPM7128S, which in fact is able to emulate the floppy drive with the appropriate "firmware". This device can only read (so far).
This is what it looks like:

http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/
This device is connected - very user friendly - with the help of USB.

Also, there is another (ready made) device available, but very expensive:
See for more infos at http://www.floppy-emulator.de/

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